A new report advises against the swift departure of a United Nations mission in Haiti despite debate over the peacekeeping force's eight-year presence.
The International Crisis Group's study released yesterday noted that discussion about the UN peacekeepers' eventual withdrawal has intensified under President Michel Martelly. During his presidential campaign, Martelly had expressed interest in the force's early departure.
But the group said the troops shouldn't be forced to leave too soon. It also said the mission should change its focus from peacekeeping to a more political role by reducing the number of troops and creating new priorities, including a focus on development.
"Any abrupt removal of the mission will create a security vacuum and encourage organised crime and violence," the study said. "There is no transition or exit strategy as yet."
The peacekeeping force, known by its French acronym as Minustah, was established in 2004 after a politically tumultuous period marked by the ouster of then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.